Innovation and Collaboration – managing the complexity of ecosystems

'Innovation' and 'collaboration' are terms that are used almost synonymously these days as more corporations and financial institutions come to recognize the growing power and importance of ecosystems.

The automotive industry has been familiar with this model for decades, but has often struggled to perfect it. Today, success in the smart phone market depends on ecosystems - the close working relationship between the handset manufacturers, mobile operators, operating system providers and the universe of developers producing tens of thousands of applications.

But while collaboration may be important in today's rapidly moving markets, the sheer growth of ecosystems makes the challenge of collaboration ever more complex.

The traditional approach to product development is highly structured and often bureaucratic. First we analyze and define customer needs. Then we develop a product response with a business model to support it. This is often followed by a marketing campaign and go-to-market strategy. All of this takes time and expense and is a challenge across multiple partners.

But what if the customer needs aren't correctly defined. Supposing we get it wrong. A huge amount of expense has been incurred to no avail.

Recent thinking favors a more flexible approach based on ongoing dialogue between the different lines of business, functions and partners engaged in innovation. In this approach innovation and collaboration form an iterative process in which dialogue revisits customer needs at each stage even to the finest level of detail.

How we manage dialogue is important because we all live in different worlds and cultures using different language often to talk about similar things. Emails, IMs and RFPs are poor substitute for creative and effective collaboration through dialogue. The growing complexity of ecosystems reinforces the importance of dialogue as a collaboration tool across very different environments.

To encourage this essential dialogue between banks and their partners, BAI and Microsoft are holding a forum in Charlotte on May 11th between bankers and six key Microsoft partners to discuss the transformation of bank branches. If you would like to learn more and join the dialogue please access the following links.

Details of the Forum:

 Registration link:

Additional reading:

"A Chef's Guide to Innovation"

"Mastering Innovation in a World of Complexity"

"The Role of Ecosystems in Driving Innovation"

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